Coming and Going

Where were you January 31st….

TODAY – 35 years old. Married to the love of my life who is currently deployed (as of yesterday) for 6 months. Stay at home mommy to a 6 year old and a 3 year old.

5 years ago – 31 years old, married for 6 years, mommy of a 2 year old.

10 years ago – 25 years old, working as a correctional counselor at South Central Regional Jail.

15 years ago – 20 years old, dating McDaddy, full-time college student working on a psychology degree while working full time at a
local grocery store.

20 years ago – In the 9th grade at HMJHS. Majorette, member of the school newspaper and member of Student Council.

25 years ago – I was in the 4th grade and was a brownie. I also took piano lessons and talked non-stop.

 

Where are you going?

5 years from now – Stevie will be 11, Alex will be 8. (WOW!), McDaddy and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage and I will be ready to hit the big 4-0! Hopefully, McDaddy will be out of the military and we won’t have to worry about deployment ever again. I will more than likely be back in the workforce, spreading my fabulosity.

10 years from now- Stevie will be driving [YIKES!] and Alex will be a teenager [heaven help me!]. McDaddy and I will be getting ready to celebrate 20 years of marriage and will take a fabulous trip to some exotic place. [hint, hint.]

15 years from now – Stevie will be 21 years old and hopefully knee deep in college text books. Alex will soon be 18 years old and hopefully pouring over college applications. If mama can make it through the high school years with 2 boys without a heart attack, it will be a miracle.

20 years from now -WOW! Our boys will be 26 and 23 and will hopefully have found 2 great gals to marry (I’m already praying!) and be well-adjusted adults. Me and McDaddy will be 55 years old and have a ways to go before retirement.

25 years from now – Me and McDaddy will probably be grandparents by now. If I had my way, we’d both be retired and travelling the world at this stage in our lives.

What Deployment Looks Like

5:30 am – Alarm clock goes off. Immediately I remember today is THE DAY.

5:40am – Wash hair because it will not cooperate.

5:46am – Board of Education calls to inform us of another 2-hour delay.

5:49am – Attempt to throw up because my stomach feels like it needs to empty its contents.

6:01am – Break down in the bathroom when McDaddy wraps his arms around me. I thought I was ready. I was wrong.

6:08am – Both kids are awake and dressed.

6:12am – Get Stevie’s backpack ready for school.

6:17am – Make way to the garage.

6:18am – Lean against 4-Runner… am I hyperventilating?

6:29am – Arrive at Air National Guard Base

7:04am – Watch McDaddy make his way through the Processing Line.

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7:09am – Take pictures of McDaddy and the boys.

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7:18am – Kiss McDaddy before he goes into briefing.

7:32am – Watch all movement around me as if I’m in a dream. Is this really happening?

7:50am – Make way into briefing room to hear from General Tackett.

8:12am – Kiss and hug McDaddy for the last time for God knows how long. [My heart is pounding. My hands are sweaty. Tears are streaming down my face. How will I make it through this?]

8:14am – Hug my boys tight. Stevie has tears streaming down his face. [HEARTBREAKING]

8:23am – Make way to fire station to watch McDaddy’s plane take off because it is too cold to stand outside.

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8:31am – Watch in agony as McDaddy’s plane takes off. Feel my heart sink.

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8:55am – Receive a text that McDaddy sent at 8:22am.

9:47am – Enter our house. It is quiet. It is empty.

10:02am – Retrieve McDaddy’s shirt from the laundry because it smells like him.

10:40am – Spend morning e-mailing and posting pictures to MySpace and Facebook.

11:56am – Watch local news for deployment coverage. Catch a glimpse of me and McDaddy on the screen.

11:57am – Start crying all over again.

1:49pm – Feel like my eyes are ready to fall out. Has it really only been 5 hours?

1:57pm – Count down minutes until its time to pick up Stevie.

1:59 pm Spend the rest of the afternoon wondering how long it will be before McDaddy calls to say that he arrived safely.

6:36pm – McDaddy calls to report that he is safe at his vacation locale on Guantanamo Bay and is headed to the NEX to purchase sunglasses because he forgot to pack his.

8:40pm – Kids are bathed and laughing themselves silly while watching Tom & Jerry. I update blog to reflect McDaddy’s call and evening activities.

8:42pm – Break down crying in bedroom thinking about going to bed. Alone. For the next 6 months.

I MISS YOU MCDADDY! I AM PRAYING THAT GOD WILL KEEP YOU SAFE UNTIL WE ARE TOGETHER AGAIN.

Thursday Thirteen – 13 Things You Should Know About Lasek Surgery

13 Things You Should Know About LASEK Surgery
 
1. It will cost you about $3,000.
 
2. It will be the best money you ever spent.
 
3. LASEK has longer recoup time, but, better results than LASIK
 
4. You will need LASEK, as opposed to LASIK if your corneas are thinner than normal.
 
5. You will be advised to take Fish Oil and Vitamin C post-op. (Put the fish oil in the freezer or else you will eventually smell like fish).
 
6. If you have to have your tear ducts plugged before the surgery, that procedure will hurt way worse than the actual LASEK procedure.
 
7. No matter how excited you are, you will probably be nervous on surgery day.
 
8. You will be very sensitive to the sun (and real bright lights) after the surgery.
 
9. You should start saving now for all of the sunglasses that you will most likely buy.
 
10. You will have a regimen of eye-drops around-the-clock for at least one week after surgery.
 
11. Your eyes might be hazy for two weeks. This is normal. One day you will wake up and you will see perfectly.
 
12. You will reach for your glasses a year after your surgery.
 
13. After the procedure, you will wonder why you didn’t have the surgery five years ago when McDaddy had it done.

Preparing For Deployment

In less than 48 hours, my wonderful, exciting, sexy husband will be leaving the country for six months to fulfill an obligation to the US Military.

Pardon me while I swipe tears.

While we have grown accustomed to McDaddy travelling quite frequently with his civilian job, we have NEVER been apart for more than a couple of weeks at a time.

This time though?

Six very L-O-N-G months.

We have talked at length with Stevie (age 6) about the duration and reason daddy has to be away for such a long time and we talked with Alex (age 3) about daddy being gone “for a long, long time,” but I’m not sure they get it.

I’m not real sure I get it, either.

No matter how much we plan or prepare, I doubt we can even begin to know what we are facing. We had a Power of Attorney drawn up. He’s gone over every major system in the house (heating/cooling, water lines, electrical box, motem/router, etc.) and we’ve decided I will e-mail pictures of the bank book each month so he can balance and maintain our finances.

Yes, I’m serious. Y’all know I suck at math.

As if my emotions aren’t crazy enough, our state is pretty much covered in snow. We got the ‘no school’ call around 5:30 AM. I love that we got to sleep in, but once I got out of bed, I tried to keep busy to keep my mind off of what we are facing. I spent most of the day doing laundry and getting the house ready for McDaddy’s open house/going away party tomorrow evening. 

We also spent part of the day making these:

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 These are little bowls filled with 185 M&Ms. There is one M&M for everyday that McDaddy will be away from us. This was supposed to be a 6-month deployment, however, the Government isn’t real efficient in its planning. (Whatever, I’m over it!)

We thought the deployment “bowls” would be a good way for the boys to keep track of how many more days daddy would be gone.

Stevie was actually able to count out his 185,

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 Alex was able to count out about 28…

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Yes, as a matter of fact that is a JEEP calendar you see beside of Stevie’s bowl. We have written a message for daddy on every little square from January 30 – August 2, 2009.

The messages that Stevie wrote are really sweet and will bring a smile to McDaddy’s face for sure.

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My sweet boy writing his name on his bowl.

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Hopefully the “deployment bowls” will help make the deployment a little easier for the boys. 

And that works for me!

Check out more things that might work for you at Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer.

After the boys made their bowls, they decided to make one for McDaddy too. His bowl is tucked safely away in his luggage.

We love you, McDaddy!!!

Stuff I’ve Learned This Week

My awesome blog designer, Jo-Lynne is hosting a carnival called “What I Learned This Week.” Since I love carnival corndogs and funnel cakes and, since I’m a walking-talking fountain of information, I thought I’d pass along some of what I learned. Because let’s face it, that’s what friends are for.

WHAT I LEARNED THIS WEEK……

1. It is virutally impossible to complete a blog post when McDaddy is replacing the old kitchen faucet with a shiny, fancy, new one and needs assistance.

2. When purchasing a shiny, fancy new faucet, you should opt to purchase it from anywhere other than Lowe’s. One would think that I would have learned my lesson when we purchased this countertop. Instead, I am a very slow learner. The faucet that we purchased at Lowe’s had a sliced squirter hose and not one sentence of instructions on how to install the silly thing.

3. After being out in 20 degree weather for three hours, it is possible to cut your finger with your toe-nail. Weird. Yes, I agree. Still totally possible.

4. Placing a Tom & Jerry “Whiskers Away” DVD in your child’s Christmas stocking will leave you ready to pull your hair out after the 719th time they ask to “Watch-Tom-and-Jerry-because-it-is-so-funny.”

5. It is possible for two children ages 6 and 3 to laugh just as hard the 719th they watch said Tom and Jerry DVD as they did the first time.

6. When the weather guy calls for 4-6 inches of snow the night before, it is typically a good idea to check the news for school closings before getting your child dressed in the morning.

7.  Regardless of their claims, generic pull-ups are NOT in the same league as Huggies.

8.  When dealing with the military, ANYTHING, and I do mean ANYTHING is possible.

9.  When your husband is getting ready to deploy for 6 months, all of the little quirks that aggravate the snot out of you on normal days make you appreciate him even more the week before he leaves.

10.  It is impossible for me to have a list and only include 9 things. It’s just not natural. (Oh, OCD I do love you so!)

Now, head on over to Musings of a Housewife to see what everyone else has learned this week.

Dear Deployment

Dear Deployment:

We have known about you since April 8, 2008. Since that time, you have wreaked havoc on our otherwise normal, happy lives. I cannot express how I felt the day McDaddy dropped the bomb news in my lap that it was a 6-month deployment. [Do you know how much McDaddy is going to miss my ramblings?]

Since that time we have done our best to plan and plot how I would proceed without him around for the long haul. We have prepared as best we could and as the day approaches, I find myself more unsure of how I will survive. There are lots of emotions. Everything from grief and sadness to fear and doubt. I hate this! Do you hear me? I hate it!!!

Just when I thought I was really prepared, you go and change the date on us. Seriously, is it really necessary? You are spending a dime to save a nickel. I swear a woman could revolutionize the military. All it would take is a multi-tasking mama with a sharpie and a strong will. Instead, we are at your mercy. Which would be fine if you could make a decision. The hem-hauling is exasperating. Please pick a date and stick with it. And, if it’s not too much to ask, could you pick a date, stick with it and tell us when it is.

This not-knowing is driving my OCD insane.

Please, FIGURE! IT! OUT!

Yours truly,

Julie

It Wasn’t Me!

I found “Not me!” Monday over at My Charming Kids and decided to play along this week.

This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week (If  her post is not up yet, keep checking back.) Not me! Monday gives us the opportunity to be brutally honest with each other, and live to tell about it, while we shroud the severity of our statements by pretending we so did not really do them! It’s kind of like free therapy.  

 As for me and my dysfunction…. here are all of the things I MOST DEFINATELY DID NOT DO this week.

~ I did not lose it when McDaddy called to inform me that his deployment date had been moved up while I was preparing the Open House invitations for mailing.

~ It wasn’t me who dropped half of a chocolate donut into a cup of milk, splashing milk all over the table and into my eyes.

~ And, it wasn’t me who misplaced my Christmas money in the china cabinet drawer after thinking for weeks that I had already spent it. Not me. I would never misplace moo-lah.

~ It wasn’t me that picked at a fever blister scab until it bled, because let’s face it, that is just plain gross.

~ And speaking of not me… it was certainly not me who took my child to play at the McDonalds germ-infested Play Park without giving him a bath later that evening. [GASP!] Not me. Seriously, it wasn’t.

~ It also wasn’t me that you saw in the passenger side of the heap (ahem! I mean Jeep) on Saturday on an off-roading excursion with McDaddy.

~And since it wasn’t me in the jeep on the off-roading excursion on Saturday, it could not have been me who got a monster of a headache while trying to catch up on a week’s worth of newspapers on said off-roading excursion because after all, that would be a dumb idea.

~ I did not finish off 1/2 of a giant hershey bar in one evening to fend off the stress of filling out the deployment spouse information book.

~ I have not been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to remember every.single.thing. that needs to be done before McDaddy leaves on his 6-month vacation.

There… all the things I didn’t do last week.

Now, get your butt over to My Charming Kids and find out what other people did not do!

We Are Filled With Joy

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The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

Psalm 126:3

 

Father God, we thank YOU! for the great things you have done for us. We thank YOU! for the joy in our lives and in our home. We are facing a difficult journey and we put our trust in You for all things. Please be with us and watch over us until we can all be together again. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Mercy and Me!

If you are one of my eight loyal blog fans, you may remember that I’ve mentioned Mercy here, here, and here.

Mercy, as wonderful as it is, is not exactly what I am writing about today.

Today, I am writing about a different kind of Mercy. You see, this Mercy, is a little girl from Malawi. I came to “know” Mercy during a Women of Faith Conference in Columbus, Ohio in April of last year. I had an awesome time with the girls and something very interesting miraculous happened to me that weekend.

Women of Faith has long been a huge supporter of  World Vision, which is a a Christian Humanitarian organization dedicated to helping children, families and their communities. I have very strong opinions about organizations like these. And, for the last three years since Women of Faith has endorsed this particular organization during their conferences, I may have voiced my opinion regarding their endorsement.

On Saturday morning, we arrived at Nationwide Arena about thirty minutes early. The arena was pretty much empty and my friend, Jessica and I walked to our seats. As we arrived at our section, we noticed the orange bags. The orange plastic bags were spaced out on every five or six chairs. As I opened one of the bags, I found a “World Vision Kid” needing sponsorship. The rant that followed went something like this….

“I just feel like there are thousands of kids in the US who are underfed and neglected…. they should be helping kids here in the US instead of those in other countries.” blah, blah, blah.

Then, I read about the little boy who was “in the bag”.

After that, I said it.

I mentioned to Jessica that if the kid in the bag on my chair had the same birthday as either one of my kids, I would feel like that was a
sign from God and that I was supposed to sponsor that child.

*Cue the violins*

You can probably imagine the expression on my face when I picked up the bag that was hanging nearest to my seat to reveal a little girl whose date of birth was November 1st. The same birthday as my two year old, Alex. The little girl’s name was Mercy. She was seven years old and she was from Malawi. And she was beautiful.

With eyes as big as buffet plates, I looked at Jessica in complete disbelief. After all, there were thousands of bags hanging in the arena. There are 365 days in a year. Even though I’m not very good at math, I have to say that the odds of a child with the same birthday hanging right beside my seat are slim to none.

Unless you are an awesome God with a point to prove.

If you are not a believer, you will chalk this up to mere coincidence.

My response to that is, “Are you serious?”

I quickly stuffed the picture of the little girl back in the bag and I asked God to bless Mercy and her family. And then, I said to Jessica, “I wonder if I’m supposed to sponsor that little girl?”

Jessica laughed and told me that the only way God could be any clearer would be to call my cell phone.

I walked back over to that bag and picked it up again. I pulled out Mercy’s picture… and discovered a dollar bill in the bag.

My eyes were wide again.

I asked Jessica if she had dropped money into the bag.

She shook her head and said, “No.”

When I looked into the bag, I saw more money.

$3.00 total.

Of all the bags in the arena.

With the same date of birth as my child.

With cold hard cash in the bag.

Convinced yet?

Well, I was.

Only I didn’t feel like I could make a $30. a month commitment without first consulting McDaddy.

So, I chewed on it until the first break. And then, I called to ask if he wanted to adopt a little girl.

He quickly said, “No”.

Then, I explained the whole scene to him.

He couldn’t argue with God’s divine plan. He agreed that we should sponsor her.

So, on the next break, I went to the World Vision table and sponsored Mercy. And as crazy as it sounds, I quickly felt a bond with her.

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I found out later that two gals sitting in the row behind us found the $3.00 on the floor the night before. The money was not theirs and they didn’t feel right keeping it, so, they put the money in the bag that hung in front of them. The bag that contained Mercy’s picture.

Again, say what you want….

I believe it was God at work.

And, I believe that God spoke to me that morning at Nationwide Arena.

As mouthy as I am, God speaks louder.

Upon returning home, I was questioned about how I knew for certain that the money we sent to World Vision would actually be used for Mercy and her family.

My reply was, “I don’t really know”.

I was obedient to God and I feel like that’s all that mattered. I was still skeptical of World Vision, but, I did what I felt like I was supposed to do.

My skepticism ended when we received a letter from Kelvin B. Magown, Mercy’s teacher.

Your sponsored child Mercy Mhango would like to express an appreciation for sponsoring her through Mtendere Area Development Programme.

She lives in a community situated about 135 kM south west of Mzuzu city. She lives in a home made of mud with grass thatched roof and with 2 bed rooms.

She is in Grade 1. Her favourite subject at school is English. Her favourite play is cookery.

Mercy Mhango would like to become a nurse after completing her eduction. She says may God bless you.

And really, He already has.

“Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.” – Psalm 69:16

Just So You Know

Just So You Know is a monthly letter to my boys.

To: My 2 Sweet Boys

From: Your Mama

Date: January 23, 2009

Re: Just So You Know

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Dear Boys: January has been an exciting month at our house. We are gearing up for daddy’s six-month “vacation.” I would do anything to change the situation, but, it looks like it is going to happen, so let’s get this party started. Once we know for sure when daddy is leaving, we will count out an M&M for everyday that daddy will be gone and we’ll put them in a jar. Then, at the end of everyday ya’ll can get one out and eat it. That way it will be easy for you to see how many days daddy has left before he comes home. We will try to make this as fun as possible. I do think ya’ll will triple love the web-cam that daddy installed too. [Lord, help us!]

The electronic devices that go by Leapster and DS that you received for Christmas have sure found a great home. Ya’ll aggravate the snot out of us wanting to play them. Please be advised that me and daddy will never let you sit and play those things all day long. It’s not healthy and it’s not good for your eyes either.

For some reason, you guys are on a Monster Truck kick. Not sure why, but it’s kind of neat to see you play with something other than Lightning McQueen and his pals. [ahem!]

Oh, and can we please give “I Want A Dog For Christmas Charlie Brown” a rest. Pretty Puh-lease. The two of you can recite the whole thing and while it is quite comical, it is getting old. That, and it is almost February. So, it’s probably a pretty safe that if they haven’t gotten the dog by now, I doubt they’ll get one. Isn’t it time for “Can I Get A Valentine, Charlie Brown?”

I do enjoy watching you guys watch that “new” show, “Tom and Jerry” though. You laugh just as hard as you did the first time you watched it. It is really great entertainment and can put a smile on my face no matter what kind of mood I am in!

Dear Stevie: Now that you are six, you claim that you are braver, that you can run faster and that you are taller. You are a happy child with many intriguing questions. I am constantly amazed at the way your mind works. My hope for you is that you are always as happy as you are at this very time in your life. Six is a fun year and it looks good on you, kiddo.

You are a sweet boy who loves school. You have learned to read and you impressed Mrs. F. when you read an entire book to her in class even though she had never read the book to the class. You can’t imagine how proud I was (am) of you.

When asked what you want to be when you grow up, you reply ‘a helper for daddy’. That makes daddy smile. You are his favorite helper. I know he will miss you something fierce while he is away.

Your favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, poptarts and the new fancy poptarts that you love, ‘toaster strudels’. Just because the strudels have fruit in them, that does not make them healthy, so please understand that you cannot eat them for every meal. It is necessary to balance your diet with something other than strawberry strudels and smores poptarts.

You are a joy and I’m glad you’re mine.

Love, Mommy

Dear Alex Famous Race Car:

This month you have informed us that your name is no longer Alex. You have changed your name to that ‘famous race car named Lightning McQueen’. I just wish famous race-cars were as fast at picking toys up and learning to use the potty as they are at running and jumping. For now though we will deal with your identity change. It is sweet to watch you use your imagination.

Child, whatever your name is, please hear me when I say it is time that you learn to use the potty. We’ve both enjoyed a much-needed break from potty training, and I’m sorry to say that in the words of Nike, it’s time to ‘Just Do It’. Seriously, it’s time. It is a new year and it’s time for a new start. So, I would appreicate your cooperation. Famous racecars who turned three years old in November, are so ready to use the potty. Trust me on this one. You are doing great, but I need for you to TELL ME when you need to go. You cannot always wait on me to take you. I am old and forgetful, so I will need your help.

We have seen a huge change in your attitude and patience over the past few months.. Wow! We are so very proud of you. I love to hear you say “sanks” [thanks] and “fanks, Daddy.” Three is agreeing you with nicely and I’d love to keep you here for a very long time. You are also much better at sharing with “Steebie.” I am glad that you and Stevie have eachother. You are like 2 peas in a pod. When the two of you are playing together, sometimes I just sneak back to your bedroom to listen to you talk to eachother.

Your favorite foods are poptarts, lunchables and green beans. You also like to share “bibcuts and grabey” [biscuits and gravy] with mommy at Tudors after we drop Stevie off at school.

You are a sweet boy, famous race car. I love you very much!

Love, Mommy